City of Madison

City of Madison Engineering | Photo Credit: Archie Nicolette

The Roger Bannerman Rain Garden Initiative

Photo of Roger Bannerman and wife

The City of Madison Engineering Division is proud to honor and name its rain garden program “The Roger Bannerman Rain Garden Initiative.” The Madison Common Council approved the name change and dedication Sept. 15, 2020.

The “Roger Bannerman Rain Garden Initiative” will continue to provide grant funding and technical assistance to private property owners who would like to construct a rain garden in the terrace of their property associated with a street project. The program will also continue to support the funding in the Green Infrastructure Pilot area, where the City provides funding for rain gardens on private property within the pilot area.


A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a shallow depression, which, sometimes, is built on a natural slope. 

Rain Garden Example

Rain gardens are often designed to capture and infiltrate water into the ground. A rain garden is a great option for stormwater management as it temporarily holds and soaks in rainwater runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns.

“Because of Roger’s tireless work toward improving urban stormwater quality and his love of rain gardens, the City of Madison has named its rain garden program the Roger Bannerman Rain Garden Initiative,” Greg Fries, Deputy City of Madison Engineer said. said. “Roger was always willing to take the time to talk about urban stormwater quality issues.  He was in invaluable resource to the City of Madison and its storwmater regulatory program.”

Background on Bannerman


Bannerman began his career at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in 1975.  He retired from the WDNR in August 2012 and went on to be a contract employee for the Wisconsin United States Geologic Survey (USGS).

During his career he worked tirelessly to incorporate science into the regulatory framework for stormwater management in Wisconsin and also used it to guide the stormwater goals in Wisconsin’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) permit program.

Roger Bannerman

Roger has been involved in countless research projects for urban stormwater quality describing the pollution in urban runoff and the effectiveness of stormwater practices including street cleaning, wet detention ponds, pervious pavement, grass swales, biofilters, infiltration basins and rain gardens.

Roger has countless publications describing his research. He also authored the Wisconsin Rain Garden Manual, a document in use today.

Roger was instrumental in advocating for and helping implement the Adams Street Rain Garden pilot project in 2005 that eventually became the current Engineering Rain Garden program.

“Madison is lucky to have residents dedicated to stormwater quality in our community. We create positive change through a lot of little changes,” Fries said. “However, someone like Roger is really rare, an expert in his chosen field who not only values the work he does, but is able to share and communicate those values with others for the benefit of all. Madison, the larger stormwater community and myself are all lucky to work with Roger and we are proud to name our program after Roger especially since he was the one who started it.”  


Read Bannerman’s work:

USGS website publication list of Bannerman work  

Wisconsin DNR Rain Garden Manual

Rain Garden Resources

What is a rain garden? Design plans, plant lists and more

Terrace Rain Garden Program

1,000 Rain Garden Initiative

Rain garden specification for commercial sites
Green Infrastructure Study
USGS Rain Garden Study

Everyday Engineering Podcast Episode: Rain, Rain Go in My Garden

Guide: Build your Rain Garden for $100 or less